CAFRE set to hold ewe management event next month

The College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) is set to hold a ewe management post-tupping event next month.

The event will take place on Tuesday, December 10, at CAFRE’s Hill Farm Development Centre, Glenwherry, Co. Antrim.

There will be two sessions on the day:

  • The afternoon session is taking place between 2:00pm and 4:00pm;
  • The evening session is taking place between 7:00pm and 9:00pm.

Speaking to AgriLand, Dr. Eileen McCloskey, sheep technologist for CAFRE, said: “The mating season is well-underway or for many early-lambing flocks is now complete. Much hard work, care and attention will have gone into ram selection and ewe management to ensure optimal ewe condition for a successful mating.

“Although, ewe nutritional requirements will not increase in the first month of pregnancy; it is important to maintain a level plane of nutrition and avoid abrupt changes in the ewe’s diet.

“Where possible, minimise handling and stress for three weeks post-tupping to reduce risk of embryo loss.

Previous research and information has suggested mid-pregnancy ewes have lower maintenance requirements and can afford to lose some condition.

“However, more recent studies relating to ewe management post-tupping has suggested that ewe condition, especially changes in body condition during all stages of pregnancy, can impact: Lamb survival; scanning rate; birth weight; and lamb growth.

“There are many factors affecting the condition of the ewe during pregnancy. This includes: Litter size; nutrition; animal health, parasites; climate; and management.

“Some may be more difficult to control than others, but most can be addressed through forward-planning to maximise lamb survival,” McCloskey concluded.

The event will focus on four topics, that include:

  • Assessing ewe body condition;
  • Feeding options throughout pregnancy for both housed and outdoor management systems;
  • Key areas relating to the best management of housed ewes;
  • Animal health during pregnancy.